On Friday, February 26, 2021, beloved husband and father Jesse Bradford Jr passed away peacefully at the age of 85, surrounded by close family. Born on April 15, 1935 in Tippo, MS, to proud parents Jesse Sr. and Rosie Bradford, Jesse grew up in a loving home amongst his brothers Levell and Charlie and sisters Ollie Pearl (Campbell) and Bertha Lee (Kokuma).
Jesse’s family relocated to Memphis, TN, in his early years, where he treasured fond, lifelong childhood memories through adolescence. He attended Manassas High School and was a member of Columbus Baptist Church, where he gave his life to Christ at a young age.
Notably, as part of the historic Great Black Migration’s latter years, Jesse — at age nineteen, just one day after graduating high school — mapped his destiny by leaving the rural, segregated South to pursue a life of greater opportunity in the urban North. He was one of the first from his generation to join aunts and uncles on the West Side of Chicago. In doing so, Jesse paved the way for many others to follow, including both of his sisters and countless friends and relatives.
In the 1970’s, Jesse and wife Carol Marie (Bossman) Bradford planted roots in the Hyde Park community, where they resided for almost 50 years. Honoring fatherhood and family, Jesse showed continuous devotion for his children Sharon, Michael, Rose, Prentice and Judith. Jesse’s entrepreneurial spirit and motivation to provide, prompted him to launch a successful career in transportation as owner and operator of Bradford Trucking Inc. in Chicago for over 40 years.
As his career progressed, Jesse faithfully served in tandem as a member of the United Church of Hyde Park (UCHP) where his family attended weekly services. Jesse held several UCHP roles, including committee leadership for property, membership, finance and hospitality. Additionally, Jesse took pride in initiating building upkeep efforts while also volunteering his time, resources and talents for “all things UCHP related,” religiously transporting members and overseeing church fundraisers and events.
A proud homeowner, Jesse lived an active life including traveling, engaging regularly with friends, family and neighbors. He was affectionately known for “background grilling” each weekend during warm weather. Jesse remained an avid reader and was a true conversationalist. As a long-term Hyde Parker, he enjoyed frequenting Valois Restaurant and several local establishments on a regular basis. Jesse reluctantly retired from his trucking career in 2017 at age 82.
Jesse is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol Marie Bradford; children, Sharon Bradford, Michael Bradford (wife Sandra Bradford), Rose Bradford, Prentice Bradford and Judith Bradford. He also leaves behind a long lineage to follow, inclusive of great-great grandchildren.
As a 35-plus year survivor of the rare, incurable disease Myasthenia Gravis, Jesse’s fulfilled his wish of donating his body to medical research in hopes of advancing treatments and a cure for others. The family will host a memorial at a future date, forever honoring his life and cherishing him deeply in their hearts.